There was a time when I would (often) find myself aimlessly wandering around clothing stores unsure of what I needed, but lusting after clothes I knew I couldn’t afford to buy. I rarely shop these days, and when I do it’s for something specific that can’t be cobbled together from items I already have in my closet, or borrowed from a friend. There’s something nice about the degree to which I’ve scaled back my shopping, which has made me feel like it’s truly an #event when I go to the store and carefully select something to purchase. But it wasn’t always this way.
Back in college, despite having no full-time job, I certainly shopped like I had one. I would go to the stores once or twice a week out of boredom and pick up something fun to wear for no reason. I would flip through glossy magazines, see a celebrity styled a certain way, and feel an overwhelming desire to run out to the store and purchase whatever items I needed to mimic the look. Peter pan collars shirts, colored patterned tights, trendy overalls, geometric leggings, chunky knit dresses — items I would never normally go out and buy, but because I saw them on someone else, I wanted them. I used to tie a lot more of my self-worth to the clothes I was able to purchase and the image I was able to craft by having new clothes and trendy accessories.
As I’ve gotten older and learned how to spend money more wisely, I’ve come to value the importance of looking put together and chic, but not trendy. My deepest desire for clothes shopping nowadays is being able to stretch my dollar as far as it can go. I shudder at the old me who was too lazy to bring coupons with her to the mall because she forgot where she put them, or couldn’t be bothered to cut/print them out.
Now I love thumbing through sale racks and talking with staff members at secondhand shops, thrift stores and boutiques to get tips and details about sales and clearance items. I’m much more invested in the integrity of pieces and not at much interested in disposable cheap crap that I will stain, rip, or lose without caring that much. As I continually try to spend smart (because I’m not perfect and slip up on occasion) these are the 10 tips I try to keep top of mind whenever I’m out shopping.
While we all want to look nice and dress well, it’s important to be honest with ourselves about how much money we should be spending on clothes, and making sure that we do so smartly! Let’s streeeeeeetch those dollars to see how far they can go.
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